BY SWATI MEHRA
Parents know how important it is to feed their kids healthy food, how in turn it builds their immune system, but they’re not quite (or ever) sure how to go about executing a plan. It’s no surprise that most of us need to understand what it means for kids to eat better eat healthily. From the shelves claiming to sell healthy offerings to all the latest food fad, it can be awfully confusing. The good news is that none of us need to be an expert in nutrition to be able to raise healthy kids and families. Following some basic guidelines can motivate and encourage our kids to eat right.
Ways to help your kids eat better and healthy:
Every child is different. Their needs, requirements, and tastes vary. What doesn’t change is the essentials of healthy food, that help in boosting immunity, memory, and brain development. It’s never easy, but moms always have to go through some trial and error to come up with the most creative and workable ideas.
1. Make it interesting
Boring food can be made exciting, e.g. who would think khichri can make it to fine dining menu cards or haldi doodh (turmeric latte) had the potential to drive Americans literally crazy wanting more of that drink? I mean millet pancakes made of millets, parathas stuffed with eggs, greens, or paneer; whole wheat pasta; sandwiches loaded with veggies and chicken/egg, etc are ways to amp up the ‘interest’ quotient. It’s all about tweaking and twisting the regular recipe to ensure kids eat healthy yet tasty food.
2. Dip it
If your kids won’t eat vegetables, experiment with condiments and dips. Try serving them thinly cut carrots and cucumbers with some healthy and tasty yogurt-based dip. You can also experiment with homemade jams using seasonal fruits, hummus using chickpeas and salsa using tomatoes, or seasonal fruits like mangoes.
3. Healthy bakes
No child has ever said no to dessert. They can have it for breakfast, snacks, and even meals if you let them to… and why not? Try your hand at baking delicious fruit-based cakes and muffins which would make for a yummy treat for the kid. You can easily use ragi instead of maida and organic jaggery powder instead of refined sugar for a healthy and guilt-free indulgence.
4. Get grinding to your rescue
One of the quick fixes of camouflaging fruits and veggies into the kids’ main meals is to puree them. Adding beetroot or spinach paste to the dough can make colorful parathas. Pureed veggies in the form of soup also make for highly nutritious meal options. It’s also fairly easy to make the kids relish fruits by blending them with yogurt as smoothies or topping them up on cereals such as millets and oats porridge.
While you do your best, trying various tricks and hacks to ensure that fussy children eat healthy, it’s important to talk to the kids regularly about the many benefits of healthy eating habits. One needs to be on top of what’s going inside the food our family is consuming. It’s a great idea to at times involve the kids in cooking along with meal planning, purchasing groceries, and even planting veggies. These surely work well in the long run!